Formula E

Gunther takes Santiago win with last lap move

2 Mins read

Maximilian Gunther took a thrilling first victory in Formula E and became the youngest ever victor in the series after he passed Antonio Felix da Costa on the last lap in Santiago.

Having started second the German dropped back a place before then passing Pascal Wehrlein and Mitch Evans to lead the race with ten minutes left.

But having driven through from tenth on the grid da Costa then charged up behind the German before scraping by him on the inside of turn 10, much to the anger of Gunther.

But it was the BMW Andretti i Motorsport driver who had the last laugh as da Costa was forced to slow due to high battery temperatures, allowing Gunther to cruise by him on the run to turn 9 on the very last lap.

It was a well-deserved victory for the 22 year-old who made it two wins in a row for BMW and made up for the podium he lost last time in Ad Diriyah after a post-race time penalty.

And although da Costa was upset to lose out on the win, the Portuguese should be delighted with his drive through the field to get on the podium.

Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Evans ended up taking the final podium slot despite being passed by Nyck de Vries on the last lap as the Mercedes driver was given a five second penalty for a technical infringement.

He drove well from pole and led for the first half of the race before he seemed to struggle with battery temperatures and dropped off the pace.

De Vries’ penalty also promoted Pascal Wehrlein up a position as the Mahindra Racing driver finished fourth having dropped back from the front late on.

That left the Mercedes-Benz EQ driver in fifth, just ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne who takes the lead of the drivers’ championship with that finish.

Lucas di Grassi benefited from many drivers struggling with the high Santiago temperatures to carve his way through to a seventh placed finish having started on the last row of the grid.

James Calado had a similar story as he made up ten places to finish eighth, just ahead of Felipe Massa who at one stage was racing in the top five.

It could have been a great day for ROKiT Venturi Racing as both Massa and his team-mate Edorado Mortara were challenging for the podium positions early on.

However they clashed going into the turn 10 hairpin before both wilting in the heat with Mortara retiring and Massa only just making the top ten.

Sam Bird claimed some unlikely points for tenth place and the fastest lap, having spun early on exiting turn 10 and dropping towards the back of the field.

And further down it was a disappointing race for Oliver Turvey and Sebastien Buemi.

Both qualified for the Super Pole shootout but finished well outside of the top ten, leaving both without points so far this season.

And it was a disastrous race for former championship leader Alexander Sims and reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne.

Sims suffered damage early on and retired, while Vergne was running in fourth when a damaged front wing started rubbing against his front left tyre.

He surprisingly drove on for several laps despite smoke streaming out as the tyre became more and more damaged, holding up his team-mate da Costa in the meantime.

The wing eventually broke off and freed the wheel up, but Verne pitted a lap later and retired from the race.

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Formula E writer for TCF since 2015-16 and fascinated by all things electric.
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